Prez Yanks Pick for Top CIA Lawyer

'Enhanced interrogation' support drives Rizzo out of the running
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Sep 26, 2007 5:11 AM CDT
John Rizzo speaks at his confirmation hearing to be the CIA's general counsel before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in this June 19 2007 screen capture.   (ABC News)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – The White House has dropped its nomination of John Rizzo as the CIA's top counsel after Democrats and human rights groups slammed him for supporting "enhanced interrogation" techniques. The career CIA lawyer sent a letter to President Bush withdrawing his nomination yesterday, Reuters reports. Rizzo retreated because he had little chance of getting the job anyway, said one official.

During his June confirmation hearing Rizzo revealed that he once defended the CIA's interrogation practices with terror suspects as legal under the Geneva Conventions. Rizzo also said he agreed with a Justice Department memo that "torture" only exists when a detainee experiences pain serious enough to accompany organ failure or death. The interview "raised serious questions," said one senator.